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Raiders Week 8 Run Defense 2 : Denico Autry vs Willie Colon

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A closer look at the Raiders' run defense play in the 4th quarter when Denico Autry slices into the backfield to tackle Chris Ivory for a 4 yard loss.

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The Jets' first running play of the day was ruined by Khalil Mack. They had obviously seen Mack's production on tape and now they had seen it live. Maybe it was the masochist in them or maybe they just wanted to see if the hype was real. It was.

The true measure of a defensive force may be the plays that he creates for OTHER players simply by drawing attention. Just by existing, Khalil Mack now makes the offensive line pay attention to him and in some cases, that OL will focus on him. When that happens, it creates opportunities for other players to make splash plays. In this case, Denico Autry.

Play 57 : Q4, 2-1-NYJ 38 (12:18) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Ivory up the middle to NYJ 34 for -4 yards (D.Autry).

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Jets are in Passing Mode, 10 Personnel (1 RB, 0 TEs, 4 WRs) and in a Shotgun, 4-Wide Set

The Raiders' D responds with Dime Defense (6 DBs) with Larry Asante, Neiko Thorpe, and TJ Carrie supplementing DJ Hayden, David Amerson, and Charles Woodson.

The Raiders have 4 men on the LOS, but only two are in a Down position, #97 Mario Edwards Jr outside the RT and #96 Denico Autry inside the RG.

In an interesting variation to the "Nascar"-type set, Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack are both in standup position, side-by-side with Aldon outside the LT and Mack outside the LG.

#53 Malcolm Smith and S #42 Larry Asante are in linebacker positions.

The OL gives an initial Pass Protection look and short sets to try to create a running lane. With Mack and Aldon on the Offense's left side, unsurprisingly, the protection turns that way; if they had not it would have left BOTH Aldon and Mack with 1-on-1 situations.

When Mack comes off the ball, note the Center #76 Wesley Johnson. His first action is to turn to help / engage Mack, even though Mack had lined up well away from him.

Typically, an OL will help out his neighboring lineman even when he is turning away. Often, you will see what's called "3 Hands" on a defender, when an OL gets both his hands to block and the help OL gives a one-armed punch. Here, the RG #66 Willie Colon sets outside just a bit, expecting help from the inside. Notice that Colon's first step is a short step with his right foot. But the Center turns away quickly without giving help.

Not only does the Center turn away from Autry, but he quickly crashes down to seal Mack and vacates that space without protecting it. This creates a huge gap for Autry to run into and gives Colon a very difficult block to try to make.

Autry's first step is inside. When he encounters no resistance, he's 90% clear. Colon reaches out to him, but Autry gives a quick little arm-under Rip move to clear that arm and then run unimpeded into the backfield.

Just after Ivory receives the handoff, he sees a massive Black jersey right in front of him. There's nothing he can do.

It's a great move and play by Autry; here his quickness and agility win over Colon's size and strength. But the reason Autry is given so much clear space in which to run is because of the attention that Mack drew and the Center's over-eagerness to attack Mack.

Also, note that Mack ends up splitting the Double anyway.

One last note is on Larry Asante. Keep an eye on him during this play.

During this play, Asante is "clean", meaning that no OL is releasing to get out on him so he is free to run so he's tracking the RB. As the play progresses and Mario Edwards Jr slants hard inside off the RT, the containment on the defensive left side is cleared out.

Either by design or by his awareness, Asante will loop out to into that clearing are and play the containment role. If somehow Ivory had shed Autry and spun to the outside, Asante would have been in position to make a play.

Little disciplined dynamics like this enforce the defensive integrity and contribute to what we see as "Team Defense". This can keep an opposing ball carrier from turning a little broken play into a huge "ad lib" play. On this particular play, Asante did not actually accomplish anything, but what he did--rotating into a position to protect open space--is important.

He could very easily have just pursued straight up the field and then finished off by jumping on top of the pile. Instead, he saw that there were already players there to make the play and then went to the place where there was a vacancy and protected the defense, just in case.

It's minor but very valuable and certainly deserves a Call Out.